Perfect Binding

Why Perfect Binding Might be the Best for Your Project

At Anstey Book Binding we are honoured to be Canada’s leading bookbinder. In business since 1882, we have grown alongside the city of Toronto and the bookbinding industry; our expertise comes from decades of learning and servicing clients both in the GTA and across Canada. At Anstey Book Binding we take great pride in providing our clients finished products of the highest quality using the newest innovation in bookbinding. There is no project too large or too small for us to take on – whether you are producing 50 pieces of a limited-edition perfect-bound book or a thousand brochures for your company – we take the time to produce each piece with the greatest of care.

One of the advantages of working with Anstey Book Binding is that we are able to produce projects with just about any binding method you could want. One of the most common methods currently used is saddle-stitching. Saddle-stitching is frequently used for projects requiring 48 pages are less. While there are advantages to use saddle-stitching for certain projects many times we advise clients to turn to the method of perfect bookbinding instead.

Most of the commercial brochures you receive by mail are most likely saddle-stitched; and for many projects, this is a great option. Saddle-stitching is achieved by printing the contents of a booklet or brochure on larger pieces of paper, folding them together so that their seems align and then running them through a machine shaped like a saddle where they are either sewed or stapled along the centrefold. The entire piece is then finished by trimming off the excess paper (along the top, face and bottom) on three sides.

Saddle-stitching is cost-effective (i.e. they are cheaper to produce!) and are easy to use in items that will be mailed. But there are also some drawbacks to this method – mainly saddle-stitched books will not lie flat on a surface. If you are printing a large amount for marketing purposes and want them to lie flat in a pile on a table this will be hard to achieve. Secondly, if you are designing a booklet or brochure that is at or near the 48-page threshold you will need to take into consideration the paper stock you are printing on and the design of each page. This is because of the natural ‘creep’ which will occur due to the thickness of the paper and the overall booklet as pages are added to the design. If printed and trimmed properly you will notice that the inside pages of the booklet are slightly narrower than the cover and outside pages. This natural ‘creep’ occurs because the mass of the paper nested within each other will push out the centre pages beyond the edge of the cover pages. While trimming the three remaining edges is fairly simple, making sure your design is not sacrificed in the process takes some forethought and planning. You may have noticed that sometimes when looking at booklets things like page numbers might be missing or partially cut off – this is because the designer didn’t take into consideration ‘creep’.

Often when our client’s question whether a saddle-stitched product is for them we find that using a perfect binding method would be a better design decision. The general rule of thumb is that for books or booklets under 48 pages you use saddle-stitching and for projects over 96 pages you use the perfect binding method. For the projects that fall somewhere in between, you can choose either depending on the needs of the piece.

There are a few advantages to perfect binding.

Perfect binding is often used for projects like: catalogues, coffee table books, annual reports or higher-end marketing material. Unlike saddle-stitching, perfect binding has individual pages glued to a spine with a strong glue. Perfect bound books, while slightly more expensive to produce, are more robust and will last longer than saddle-stitched pieces. A tremendous advantage of perfect binding is the flexibility of design. In a perfect-bound book you are able to use different weights and colours of paper throughout the book; you can also use the spine of the book to print the title or other design features. The design process for a perfect bound book is slightly different; as open pages tend not to lie flat you have to be aware not to lose any important information or graphics in the gutter (the centre section leading to the spine) of the piece. At Anstey Book Binding we are always happy to work with clients and their designers to make sure from the outset that all design decisions will work with the final printing process to produce a superior book. If you are doing a fairly small print run, for a project you wish to last for years, perfect binding is most likely the best option for you.

At Anstey Book Binding we are industry leaders due to our ability to stay at the forefront of innovation in the field. We have produced extraordinary pieces working closely with clients to ensure their vision of the work comes to life. We are able to produce books with perfect binding that are extra wide, extra tall and ultra-thin. Our extra tall portrait books can have 18” spines and our extra-wide can measure 19” portrait or landscape and our ultra-thin books can be as small as 1/16” thick, plus cover.

While based in Toronto Anstey Book Binding works throughout Canada and we have many clients in the U.S. We work with small, medium and large businesses – whether you are starting out or are an established company we enjoy working closely with our clients to help ensure your printed material takes your business to the next level. Anstey Book Binding is conveniently located in Toronto at 946 Warden Avenue. We can be contacted via email at or give us a call at 416-757-9991.

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